4 Important Actions When You Believe Your Ex Has Alcohol Issues
If you believe your ex-spouse has developed a problem with alcohol, you're probably worried about your children when they stay there. Even if the kids are only with this parent one night a week or every other weekend, this is still cause for concern. Take some important actions that will help you determine whether your former partner actually has become chemically dependent and how to protect your children if this is the case.
Talk It Over
Avoid being argumentative or overly accusing, but tell your ex about your concerns and why you have them. Maybe there's a different explanation, such as having to work unusually long hours and being overly fatigued. If he or she is drinking too much, your conversation may be enough motivation to stop.
Hire a Lawyer
If you are sure your ex is abusing alcohol and there are no signs of stopping, hire a family law attorney like The Law Offices of Paul F. Moore II. You may eventually petition the court for a modification in child custody or visitation. Before this, the law firm can work to discover definitive evidence of an alcohol problem, whereas you may not have the resources to do so. They may have a private investigator do some surveillance, for example.
Keep Notes on Your Observations
Your ex may deny anything you bring up in court in regard to his or her behavior. However, when you keep detailed notes on things that have occurred, your lawyer has the opportunity to confirm some of the behavior through other sources.
For instance, you might arrive to pick up your kids and discover that your former partner is visibly intoxicated. Your kids might say that the parent disappeared for a couple of hours. Your lawyer may be able to confirm that your ex ventured off to a nearby watering hole during this time.
Look for other signs of a problem, such as:
- lots of empty alcohol containers in the recycling bin
- unusual changes in mood
- forgetfulness or irresponsibility, such as not picking up the children at school when scheduled to
Make notes of the relevant comments your youngsters make, but don't question them excessively and put them in a difficult position.
Try a Collaborative Legal Agreement
Your lawyer and your ex-spouse's attorney may be able to help the two of you come to an agreement about the situation if there indeed is a substance abuse issue. Maybe your former partner will agree to stop using, to enter rehab or to attend daily meetings of an addiction support group.
Chemical dependency tends to get progressively worse, so it's important you find out whether your ex actually does have a problem. If so, he or she has probably been successful at hiding it before it reached this level of severity. Take important actions now so you can remove your children from this person's care if that is advisable.